Cabbage farming is important because it provides income and food for consumers. Cabbages are also used as a source of fodder for cattle. The crop is rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C. In addition, the plant is rich in mustard oil.
If you are looking for an agronomist to help your cabbage farming business to grow, do not hesitate to contact us.
Land Preparation for Cabbage
The success of any cabbage farming business will depend on several factors, such as the ecological conditions, the availability of soil nutrients, and diseases. Cabbages thrive in altitudes of between 800 -2000 meters. The soil should have high organic content and a PH of 6 – 6.5.
The first step of land preparation for cabbage is to plough and harrow the land until it has a fine texture. Also, ensure that the ground is free of plant debris and pathogens. To do this, you will need to have a soil test done. A soil test is essential because it is a scientific method of determining whether the soil meets the nutritional requirements of cabbage.
If a soil test determines that the nutritional needs of cabbage are deficient, we will recommend fertilizers that can be used to increase productivity.
The depth of the furrows will depend on the season. For example, it is recommended that the furrows be 30cm deep during the wet season. During the dry season, the trenches should be 20cm deep.
Cabbage Seed Rate Per Acre
The recommended cabbage seed rate per acre is 600 – 1.2kgs of seeds. In addition, recommended cabbage spacing should be 150cm between rows and 30 cm between hills. We sometimes see farmers making the mistake of forcing the seed inside the ground. Farmers should avoid this practice because it stresses the roots, resulting in poor yields.
Farmers can use two cabbage seedling methods; the staggered and square seedling methods. The best seedling method is staggered because it prevents the seedlings from competing for nutrients. To increase your cabbage yield, you need to pay special attention to your seedlings. The best way to do this is to incorporate seedling management practices.
Some of the things that you need to avoid are:
- Sowing seedlings at the wrong time
- Contaminating the seedlings with diseases
- Planting refrigerated seedlings
- Over fertilization
- Growing on a piece of land that has a large temperature difference from the nursery
Best Fertilizer for Cabbage
To reduce the cost of fertilizer, you need to rotate cabbages with leguminous leafy vegetables such as cowpeas and sun hemp. This is because they will introduce nitrogen into the soil, which will help boost yields. Nitrogen can increase the head weight by up to 1kg.
The soil will need plenty of organic fertilizer during planting, such as Safi Sarvi. Safi sarvi is especially beneficial when your farm has high acidity levels. In addition, fertiliser increases your soil’s water retention capability, meaning the soil can hold water for longer periods. For a cabbage farming business to thrive, fertiliser will be needed.
One of the best fertilizer for cabbage that you will need is nitrogen. Nitrogen increases the size of the cabbage head, increasing its marketability. Other fertilizers are:
Potassium is important because it makes cabbage drought resistant. Farmers should also add potassium to the soil if they are located in cold regions. Similarly, farmers should add potassium to ensure that all crops mature evenly. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where a quarter of the crops are ready for harvesting while the rest are still immature.
Calcium helps cabbages in two main ways. First, it ensures good root development, increasing its abiotic stress resistance levels. Second, it prevents stunted growth, especially during the early growth stages.
Another important cabbage fertiliser is magnesium, which increases the plant’s photosynthetic activity. In addition, magnesium helps improve to improve the storage capabilities of cabbage. This means that suppliers can transport the cabbages for long distances without spoiling.
Farmers can plant several cabbage varieties. When considering a cabbage variety, the farmer needs to consider factors such as altitude, soil conditions, marketability, and yield. One main cabbage variety planted in the country is the Gloria F1 cabbage.
Gloria F1 Cabbage
The Gloria F1 cabbage variety has a yield potential of 60 tonnes per acre. It is important to note that this yield is only achieved when the cabbages are grown in an optimal environment. This seed variety matures in 75 days and is suitable for planting in heat-prone areas. This is because the variety is heat tolerant.
The average weight of a Gloria F1 cabbage is 4 -5 kilograms. In addition, it is important to note that this seed variety is preferred because it is Fusarium Yellow disease resistant.
Victoria F1 Cabbages
Victoria F1 Cabbages are fast-growing cabbages that mature in 70 days from transplanting. These cabbages are characterized by their compact heads and high-profit margins. An average Victoria F1 cabbage weighs around 4-5 kilograms, and the seeds can yield 40 -55 tonnes an acre.
Baraka F1 Cabbages
Baraka F1 cabbages are also fast-maturing crops. They have a good wrap and produce uniform heads that make them marketable. These seed varieties have high resistance to fusarium yellow disease and black rot. Baraka F1 cabbages mature in 50 -85 days and have an average head weight of around 4-6 kilograms.
Pruktor F1 Cabbages
Pruktor F1 cabbages are known for their high round-shaped heads with an average weight of 4-5 kilograms. The cabbages matures in 85-90 days and is highly tolerant to diseases such as Ring and black rot. To plant the Pruktor F1 cabbage, you must plant the seeds at a rate of 100 grams per acre.
Cabbage Disease You Need to Know About
One of the most common cabbage farming diseases that affect farmers is the Alternaria leaf spot disease. This disease is caused by fungi known as Alternaria and A. brassicas, which mainly affect the leaves. However, in some cases, the fungi can affect the base of a developing cabbage head.
This disease mainly occurs when the cabbage is exposed to excess moisture. Symptoms of this disease include yellow spots on the affected area, which ultimately withers, creating small holes in the leaves. If the disease is not controlled on time, the small spots will join and create a bigger hole.
Alternaria is controlled by implementing drip irrigation and using sanitized tools.
Other diseases that you need to be aware of are:
Bacterial Soft Rot
One disease that you need to be wary of is the bacterial soft rot disease. The disease can destroy your entire farm if not controlled during its early stages. Bacterial soft rot is caused by a bacteria known as Pectobacterium. The only good thing about this disease is that it mainly occurs during storage.
Bacteria soft rot disease is easy to identify. It is characterized by a soft rot spot on the cabbage. The soft rot spot will then enlarge to create an infected plant tissue with a mushy feel. In most cases, the area is usually dark brown.
You can minimize the risks of bacteria soft rot by ensuring that the soil has been tested and disinfected. Similarly, farmers should adopt drip irrigation as it prevents water from splashing. We advise you to avoid harvesting during wet conditions as this can spread diseases.
Lastly, cabbages should be stored soil free. You can remove the dirt by using a dry cloth.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
There are two types of fungi that cause bacterial leaf spots. The first is the Pseudomonas syringae and the Xanthomonas fungi. Bacterial leaf spot has dark brown spots that increase in size when not treated early. If the bacterial infection is not controlled, the cabbage foliage will wither.
Leaf spot diseases are spread via insects and splashing water. You should take extra precautions during wet weather because the infection can quickly spread from one head to another.
The blackleg disease is caused by a fungus known as Phoma lingam. This disease destroys the roots resulting in young seedlings withering. Stunted growth and light brown sunken cankers on the base of the stems are one sign that your crops are affected by the Blackleg disease.
Unfortunately, Blackleg has no cure, so the best thing to do is to try and prevent it. The best way to do this is to ensure that you plant on a piece of land with no cruciferous weeds. You should also ensure that your cabbages have adequate spacing to allow airflow.
Another strategy that can be implemented is to remove all infected debris from the farm and burn them. Farmers should also avoid planting brassicas on the same land they plan to grow cabbages.
Another cabbage disease that you need to know about is the clubroot disease. This disease is so dangerous that it can live in the soil for more than 18 years. Signs of clubroot diseases include wilting, stunted growth, and yellowing of the leaves.
How to Store Cabbages
Every farmer should seek advice on which cabbage variety is best for storing and selling in local and international markets. Some cabbage varieties can last for longer periods after being harvested when compared to others. You can do certain things to ensure that the harvested cabbages last longer.
The first thing is to ensure that the harvested cabbage has at least three or four wrapper leaves. The leaves protect the cabbage from drying, increasing its storage capabilities.
Harvest Cabbage When it is Mature
Another strategy you can use is to harvest it when it is mature. To know if the cabbage is mature, you must feel the head. If the cabbage head is flimsy and feels loose, it is not yet ready for harvesting. However, if the head is solid and firm, it is ready for harvesting.
When harvesting cabbages, avoid twisting them, as this can cause damage. Instead, we advise that you harvest it by cutting the stem a few inches from the head.
What to Do When Immature Cabbages Start to Crack
When you notice immature cabbages cracking, do not be tempted to harvest them because they are not ready for consumption. Instead, it would be best if you twisted the head 180 degrees at ground level. This twist will break the roots slowing down growth.
Storing Cabbages in the Refrigerator
When you want to store cabbages in a cold room, you need to remove loose leaves and then wrap the cabbage in a damp paper towel. Ensure that the cabbage is clipped, leaving only a short visible stem.
It is important to note that cabbages stored in a refrigerator produce a pungent odor as it tries to breathe. When stored in a cold and moist area, the cabbage can last for upto four months.
Get in Touch for a Free Consultative Session
Are you looking to venture into cabbage farming? Do you need expert advice on the best strategy to increase cabbage yields? If yes, feel free to contact us for a free agronomic consultative session.